As much as I agree that everyone should have the opportunity at an education, I'm not convinced that everyone needs THE SAME education. So, I guess I agree, at least superficially, with the original article. I'm a bit surprised with chemistry being the demon here, as I would have expected advanced math classes as being more problematic and less applicable to the daily life of the masses than chemistry, but that's probably just my bias showing.
Now, having said that, I don't see any way to accommodate the educational needs of every child in the current system, for several reasons:
- Not enough teachers (or dollars for teachers) for personalized public education
- Expecting kids who haven't had basic education to be able to frame rational, coherent thought processes around what they REALLY want to do for the rest of their lives, let alone what they want to do that will provide enough money for them to live on, is most likely not realistic.
- In theory, parents could be used as proxies to compensate for the previous point, but given their backgrounds and educations, it's likely that the parents' decisions will all be horribly biased, and are thus no less likely to lead to a life of terminal boredom than kids choosing on their own or the Board of Education choosing for them.
Unfortunately, designing an educational system that suits the needs of everyone, all the time, is really, really hard. I've thought for a while now that having a tree-based curriculum (i.e. everyone starts out with the same basics in elementary school, then branches in middle school, maybe along academic/vocational tech lines, etc.) but even that is most likely prejudicial in such a way that jumping class boundaries would get increasingly hard.
Then again, think of how hard it would be to even have this discussion if we hadn't all had to take classes in reading, writing, logic, etc.